A southeastern suburb of Springfield, East Longmeadow is on the Massachusetts/Connecticut line and a matter of minutes from Springfield’s dynamic Metro Center district.
Historically this area was renowned for its sandstone quarries, providing the material for grand projects like Washington’s Smithsonian Institution Building (1855).
An interesting quirk of East Longmeadow is the way seven thoroughfares meet at a roundabout in the town’s center, known as “the Rotary”. A lot of the town’s locally-owned businesses are located here or close by.
East Longmeadow’s sense of community and patriotic spirit shine through each year, with one of the biggest 4th of July parades for miles, a multi-day carnival and a spellbinding fireworks show.
1. Heritage Park
East Longmeadow’s community park is a lovely space, wrapped in hardwood forest in the northwest corner of the town.
A big part of Heritage Park’s appeal comes from its beautiful pond, which is flocked with waterfowl for much of the year, including no shortage of grumpy geese.
The park is mostly for passive recreation, whether you’re picnicking, strolling in the woods, or bringing little ones to the playground.
There’s also a handful of sports facilities, with two baseball diamonds and a soccer field, while the pond is a skating destination when it freezes in winter.
2. Fourth of July Parade
East Longmeadow is known far and wide for its July 4th celebrations, which are some of the biggest in Western Massachusetts.
At the core of all this is the parade, a tradition going back half a century, with some 1,500 people marching through the center along North Main Street to Hanward Hill.
Making their way past are veterans, marching bands, local services and gleaming classic cars.
This is followed in the evening by the annual fireworks, usually taking place at East Longmeadow High School at 9:30pm. Throughout this time there’s a carnival, lasting for five fun-filled days at Veterans Memorial Field.
3. The Rotary
In the very center of East Longmeadow, seven streets converge at a busy rotary, dubbed the Magic Roundabout, or simply “the Rotary”.
This intersection appeared in Ripley’s Believe It Or Not! for having seven roadways and not a single traffic light. As well as being a hair-raising place to drive, the Rotary is home to East Longmeadow’s civic functions, and has a lot of local businesses.
As well as Maureen’s Sweet Shoppe, which we’ll talk about below, there are spots for breakfast, pizza, cakes, coffee, deli food, and modern American cuisine close by.
You can get onto the Redstone Rail Trail just west of the roundabout on Maple Street, where you’ll happen upon the Connecticut Central Railroad Depot, built in 1876.
4. Redstone Rail Trail
Cutting right through the heart of the town and serving the Rotary, this paved multi-use trail is on a railbed first laid down by the Connecticut Central Railroad in the 1870s.
The trail runs for just under a mile between Denslow Rd and Maple St, and is furnished with seating areas and kiosks, as well as a bike store on Shaker St, connected to the trail by a bridge.
That historic station is the big landmark at the north end of the trail, and in recent summers has been home to an ice cream stand. North of Maple St there’s an as yet unpaved section of the trail, hugging the bank of Pecousic Brook for just over a mile.
5. Forest Park
Just off the town’s western shoulder is Springfield’s Forest Park, one of the largest urban municipal parks in the country.
Forest Park opened in 1884, and many of these 735 acres were gifted by the philanthropist Everett Hosmer Barney, who also convinced his wealthy neighbors to donate land.
The park is a year-round attraction, most notably for its zoo, which has a wealth of exotic and native animals, as well as adorable barnyard breeds like miniature donkeys, alpacas, and Nigerian dwarf goats.
In the holiday season Forest Park is famed for its uplifting light display, known as Bright Lights, while there’s a popular farmers’ market May through October, and then moving inside and taking place every other weekend from November to April.
6. Fenway Golf
A summer treat for all ages, Fenway Golf mixes a lineup of golf-themed attractions, with something to suit all ages and abilities.
First up, there’s an 18-hole mini golf course, complete with all the traditional elements like a bubbling stream and a cascading waterfall.
For more of a longer challenge, there’s a pitch & putt, which will suit youngsters swinging a club for the first time, as much as seasoned players trying to get as close to the pin as possible.
Around the corner, the same company runs Pine Knoll, a true, 18-hole par 3 course, while on-site you’ve also got batting cages and a snack bar with 24 different flavors of soft serve.
7. Meadowbrook Farm
On 275 acres on the southeast side of town, this farm has been in business for more than 30 years now. You can drop by from April to December, and as the year progresses there’s always a new reason to pay a visit.
Things start in the spring with perennials, lilies, vegetable plants and a wealth of other flowers and gardening products at the greenhouse.
Later you can purchase a staggering variety of fresh produce at Meadowbrook Farm, from strawberries in July to pumpkins in fall, followed by Christmas trees a little later in the holiday season.
8. Frigo Foods
This gourmet Italian deli in East Longmeadow is part of a mini-chain in the Springfield area, with a history that can be traced back to the early 20th century.
The Frigo family first settled in Chicago in the 1900s, setting up a successful cheese business, and by the 1950s expanded to the Northeast, opening a deli in the Springfield South End.
Fast forward to the 21st century and the new Frigo Foods location in East Longmeadow makes a range of delectable prepared foods to go, from sandwiches to salads and a big choice of freshly prepared pasta dishes like ravioli and lasagna.
The historic, walkable and culturally-rich heart of Springfield is only 15 minutes from the Rotary in East Longmeadow.
As a priority, you have to check out The Quadrangle, and its ensemble of five high-quality museums under the Springfield Museums umbrella.
You could easily spend a whole day studying Impressionist masterpieces, pondering the universe’s big questions, discovering treasures from ancient civilizations, and immersing yourself in the world of Dr. Seuss, who was born in this city.
A National Historic Site, the Springfield Armory was the primary source of firearms for the United States Military, from 1777 to 1969, and is another priority.
It was also in Springfield that the physical educator, James Naismith invented the sport of basketball in 1891, a fact celebrated by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
10. Maureen’s Sweet Shoppe
Around East Longmeadow you’ll have lots of opportunities to shop local and support some beloved businesses that have been here for decades.
Right on the Rotary you’ve got Maureen’s Sweet Shoppe, which opened in 1997. The owner, Maureen, continues to make the store’s roster of luxury confections by hand.
For an idea of the range, there are caramel apples, chocolate-covered pretzels, nonpareils, gourmet popcorn, salted caramels, assorted truffles, marshmallows, and plenty more.
11. Coughlin’s Place
A minute or two up Main Street from the Rotary, there’s a homey breakfast spot that has satisfied customers from far and wide for more than 35 years now.
Open in the mornings, Wednesday-Sunday, Coughlin’s Place prides itself on its high-quality ingredients and excellent service.
There are lots of details to love here, like the homemade preserves, the use of pure maple syrup, warm atmosphere and generous servings.
The big specialty is the homemade corned beef hash, which comes with two eggs in any style, toast and a beverage.
12. Skyline Scenic Area
The Northern Connecticut Land Trust manages these 65 acres of hilly woods a couple of miles away in Somers, CT.
Setting off from Stafford Rd, the yellow-blazed trail here guides you through a rugged, boulder-strewn landscape and brings you to a scenic lookout where you can gaze across the Connecticut River Valley.
In recent years encroaching trees have hidden the view from spring through fall, but if you come when the trees are bare the scenery is awe-inspiring, especially at sunset.
Elsewhere you’ll pass interesting holdovers from centuries of human habitation, from bridges to stone walls and mysterious-looking pits.
13. Pell Family Farm
Another long-standing family business in the area is the Pell Family Farm, which has been around since 1930.
Starting out in the dairy business, the farm’s focus has evolved down the years, and today there’s a nursery, a crop of Christmas trees and strawberries, which are sold at local produce markets.
In the recent past there was a petting zoo, and typical fall activities at the farm, and those days may return in the future. For now, you can swing by in the holiday season to cut your own Christmas tree.
The nursery is open throughout the year and specializes in privacy trees, including an array of arborvitae, Canadian hemlock and blue baby spruce.
14. Shaker Bowl
Attracting families, groups of friends and competitive bowlers for decades, Shaker Bowl is a compact alley that has stayed up to date over the years.
On weekend evenings you get disco lights, party music and big screen displays at the far end of the lanes. Kids are well catered to, with bumpers available on the lanes, as well as charming alligator ramps for little ones who haven’t mastered their bowling technique yet.
Shaker Bowl also has a grill for bowling alley faves like pizza, chicken tenders, sliders, mozzarella sticks and pretzels.
15. Rotary Summer Concert Series
As much a hallmark of the East Longmeadow summer as the parade, carnival and fireworks, there’s a much anticipated season of outdoor concerts organized by the East Longmeadow Rotary Club.
Kicking off at 7pm on Sundays, July through mid-August, these shows take place at East Longmeadow High School.
The first date in the series in July is normally the warm-up for the fireworks show. It’s a good idea to walk or carpool to the high school, as parking is limited.
In terms of style, the bands tend to play classic rock hits by the likes of Elvis, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and The Eagles.